Walkers helps the Blues

| 28/04/2009

(CNS): The National Trusts’ Blue Iguana Recovery Programme (BIRP) received another financial boost from local law firm Walkers,which has donated another CI$20,000 – the third cheque presented by the firm to the National Trust in the past three years. These donations followed Walkers’ commitment in 2006, as a Gold Sponsor of the Trust, to donate CI$60,000 to BIRP, which has been used to fund its operational costs.

"This is the third year that Walkers has helped fund the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme in this way," said programme director Fred Burton in a Walkers release. "Corporate sponsorships like this are absolutely key to the ongoing operation of our programme. Now we are entering a new and exciting phase of operations with a new protected area, I also hope that Walkers’ example may inspire others to join in helping us secure the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana’s future for the long term."

Earlier this year BIRP received a major boost from the government’s decision to protect a large area of Blue Iguana habitat in the east interior of Grand Cayman. This newly protected area provides almost 200 acres more capacity for the project, to add to the 85 acres of good Blue Iguana habitat which had previously been available.

"The achievements of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme are nothing short of remarkable and have helped ensure the survival of this species, which had been so close to extinction just a few years ago," commented David Byrne, chief marketing officer with Walkers. "Walkers is proud to have supported the Programme and we were delighted to hear that the new protected land brings into sight their ultimate goal of releasing a thousand blue iguanas to the wild."

To date, 290 Blue Iguanas have been released into the wild as a result of the programme, according to Burton, the majority of these having been released in the Salina Reserve. "The remnant wild population in 2002 was estimated at less than 25, so we are making progress in the right direction," Burton added.

The Blue Iguana has been a favourite symbol of Cayman for the staff at Walkers for a number of years, the release noted. In 2003, Walkers had a custom designed blue iguana stuffed toy made in order to promote the firm and the Cayman Islands at overseas conferences. The toys were so popular that they have become an important part of the firm’s global marketing effort. Many of these toys are donated to the gift shops at the National Trust and the National Gallery, with profits from their sale helping to support local educational and arts programmes.

Walkers’ staff also made a direct contribution to improving security for the Blue Iguanas last year, raising money through the firm’s ‘Dress Down’ programme, after a number of blues were killed in 2008. The CI$6,476 collected in July 2008 was the largest sum that the National Trust had ever received from a corporate dress down event.

(Left to Right): BIRP Director Fred Burton, Trust GM Frank Balderamos, Blue Iguana warden John Marotta, Walkers chief marketing officer David Byrne, and Stanley the Blue Iguana.


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  1. Carol Hay says:

    Kudos to Walkers for their hand out to the Blues.  I hope Fred Burton uses some of the funds to buy guns, or something equally destructive, to kill the invasive Honduran Green Iguanas that are proliferating Grand Cayman.  If something isn’t done soon to cull these destructive green buggers, we will soon need to start another fund to deal with the problems they will have created.